To stay thin, follow the habits of thin people, research suggests, and eat a lot of fiber for weight loss and weight control, particularly fruit.*
Researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) and University of Texas recruited 52 normal-weight adults and 52 overweight or obese adults, generally the same age and height, and studied every detail of their diets.
The key difference between the two diets was fiber. The normal-weight adults consumed on average 33% more dietary fiber and 43% more complex carbohydrates, particularly in the form of fruit, each day (per 1,000 calories).
The overweight subjects consumed more total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.
“Our results indicate that a diet containing more than average amounts of fiber, complex carbohydrate and fruit was associated with normal body fat stores,” lead investigator Jaimie N. Davis, PhD, and colleagues concluded.
Fiber For Weight Loss
Fiber-rich foods help keep the pounds off partly because the bulk that fiber adds to foods fills the stomach, curbing hunger and prolonging satiety. Foods rich in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, also tend to have a low calorie density and are also low in fat. Most fruits, for example, average just 135 to 420 calories per pound. Fiber-poor white bagels, by contrast, weigh in at 1,200+ calories per pound. Jelly beans have more than 1600 calories per pound.
Foods that are naturally packed with fiber are health promoting in other ways too. Fiber helps lower cholesterol levels, normalize blood sugar levels, stabilize insulin levels, and (the list goes on and on!) helps prevent hemorrhoids, constipation, and even certain cancers.
* Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 2006; 106: 833.